All travel to the border areas with Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq is
strongly advised against. Westerners have been the target of kidnaps by
armed gangs in southeast Iran. All overland travel to Pakistan is highly
inadvisable. Since 2002, there have been several violent attacks on, and
violent demonstrations outside, British Embassy compounds in Tehran, and
the possibility of further incidents cannot be dismissed. Demonstrations
and similar large gatherings in public places should be especially avoided.
Iran is located in the Middle East, bounded by Turkmenistan and the Caspian
Sea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, Iraq and
Turkey. The centre and east of the country is largely barren desert with
mountainous regions in the west. Tehran, the capital, is essentially a
modern city, but the best of the old has been preserved. The Shahid Motahari
Mosque has eight minarets, from which the city can be viewed. The Bazaar
is one of the world's largest. More traditional towns, such as Rey, Varamin,
Qazvin and Shemshak are within easy reach of Tehran. The town of Tabriz
is known for its restored blue mosque built in 1465. The covered Qaisariyeh
Bazaar dates back to the 15th century. The Golden Triangle is the name
popularly given to the region enclosed by the ancient cities of Hamadan,
Kermanshahan and Khorrambabad. For many centuries the Silk Road passed
through the pleasant rolling countryside of the region. Local dishes include
chelo khoresh (rice topped with vegetables and meat in a nut sauce) and
morgh polo (chicken and pilau rice).
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